Book review: The Honey Queen by Cathy Kelly

The Honey Queen by Cathy Kelly (first published in 2013 by HarperCollins).

This book grabbed my attention from the start. Kelly’s style of writing, the way she describes her characters and their idyllic town of Redstone with warmth made it difficult to put down.

The story begins with an introduction to Lillie who has just been widowed. Lillie is lost in grief and pain and then suddenly learns she has a half-brother. She is invited to stay with Seth and his wife Frankie in Ireland and makes the journey from Australia so that she can find out more about the mother she never knew.

Seth and Frankie have had a rough time and don’t realise the amazing change that Lillie will bring to their lives (and everyone she meets). Seth has been retrenched and Frankie is finding it hard to be supportive as he becomes more and more distant. To add to their troubles, they had just bought a rundown home they had planned on renovating.

They are living in the basement as the renovations they had intended have come to a screeching halt.  With Seth withdrawn and Frankie stressed and pressured at her work, Lillie is like a breath of fresh air. Lillie realises that the house is a massive project and focuses her energy on the garden. It is then she teaches Seth about beekeeping.  

Opal and Ned are a couple who have raised their children but have a teenage niece, Freya who stays with them. One of their sons are getting married and their future in-laws are a stark contrast to their generous and down-to-earth attitude to life. Then one evening their estranged daughter Meredith turns up on their doorstep in tears. Meredith thought she was living a fairy tale but has fled a scandal that could ruin everything she has so carefully planned and worked towards.

Peggy is a young lady who has moved to the same town and is opening up a knitting shop that she has dreamed of for ages.  However we soon learn she is carrying an awfully sad past along with her and it threatens to ruin any chance of love and happiness. When her life takes an unexpected turn she realises she doesn’t only have herself to worry about. Can she put the past behind her and move forward or will it always follow her like a dismal cloud?  

It may sound like a big host of characters but Kelly connects them seamlessly in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the reader.  It was difficult to put this book down and I was sorry when it was finished. I highly recommended it as an enjoyable feel-good book.

Keen on reading this book? Buy your copy now.

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